UK: Co-operative Bank rescue plan to be revised

The Co-operative Bank has revealed that the cost of a series of failings including its involvement

The Co-operative Bank has revealed that the cost of a series of failings including its involvement in controversial payment protection insurance policies (PPI) will be more than expected. - Credit: PA

The troubled Co-operative Bank has revealed that the cost of a series of failings including its involvement in controversial payment protection insurance policies (PPI) will be up to £105million more than expected.

The bank, which is in the middle of a rescue plan after a £1.5billion black hole was identified in its balance sheet, said it has had to increase its provision for customer redress.

However, it also revealed that regulators say the amount needed to cover the wider issue of the hole in its finances does not need to be increased.

The update comes amid speculation that details of a rescue plan which would have seen Co-op Group retaining a majority stake in the bank while floating a chunk on the Stock Exchange have been rejected.

An alternative outcome worked out under pressure from bondholders would mean institutions including hedge funds, pensions and insurers taking control, according to the BBC report.

The wider Co-op Group has previously insisted there is “no plan B” to saving the bank but now appears to have had to acquiesce to the demands.

The bank in a separate statement today, the group said: “We currently expect that many elements of any recapitalisation plan will be materially different to the outline provided on June 17.”

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It added: “The board of the group remains committed to delivering a solution that provides both the necessary capital for the bank, while preserving its ethical focus, and an acceptable outcome for bondholders, including private investors.”

Co-op said it had been consulting its bondholders and “seeking to balance the requirements and expectations of these parties”.

It said: “The plan continues to evolve through the process of consultation and negotiation with bondholders, therefore we cannot provide further detail at this stage.

“Constructive engagement with bondholders is continuing and the group remains confident that a proposal to recapitalise the bank can be agreed and put to bondholders. We will make a further announcement when appropriate.”

The lender is attempting to plug a £1.5bn black hole in its balance sheet through a painful fundraising which will force losses on to owners of its bonds and leave it with a stock market listing, ending its prized mutual status.

Hedge funds represented by investment banks have demanded the bank tear up its rescue plan, instead proposing an alternative plan of converting all its bonds into shares, giving it a bigger stake in the lender.

The Co-op announced earlier this year that it had set aside £269m to compensate PPI customers so the new provision may see the amount climb to £300m or more.

This has been recalculated due to more customers coming forward as well as the Financial Conduct Authority providing fresh guidance on appropriate levels of compensation for customers.

Co-op has not disclosed how much of the extra provision it has announced is specifically for PPI.

The sum also includes a compensation for mortgage customers affected by a newly-discovered flaw in which they were charged only interest on their first mortgage instalment, meaning further payments were higher than they should have been.

Customers who took out Platform and Optimum mortgage products would have been affected although the bank has not yet notified any of them and further details of the scale of the issue remain unclear.

The bank said the overall new provision of £100m to £105m also took into account “the identification of a technical breach of the Consumer Credit Act”.

This was thought to relate to failing to inform some loan customers that they could reduce their outstanding balance.

The overall provision from the bank also includes money put aside because of overdue payments and unpaid cheques.